A blog about arts and societies around the world

The Rough Guide to Desert Blues

The Rough Guide to… collection has been going strong for over a decade, thanks to the association between the Rough Guide travel guide book and the World Music Network. Bringing flavours from Bhangra to Romanian Gypsies, it’s been a reference for those willing to find out various genres from the remotest lands. Five years after delivering the Music of the Sahara album, the series is back to the region with The Rough Guide to Desert Blues, a good omen for what’s left of the summer.

With this special edition, the series explores many areas of the Sahara Desert, where the genre originates from. It includes Touaregs (Tinariwen, Tartit), Malian Bambara (Amadou & Mariam), Moorish (Malouma) or Sahrawi artists (Mariem Hassan).

But a desert blues compilation wouldn’t be so without the one many consider the creator of the style, the Malian Songhaï, Ali Farka Touré who delivers a song that was originally released on his Niafunké album.

Etran Finatawa, that combines the nomadic cultures of the Touareg and Wodaabe people, also features with “Aitimani”, a song about families gathering together at sunset to talk and sing. The Nigerien band comes back on the bonus CD, as the World Music Network reissues for the occasion their first album Introducing Etran Finatawa.

This new Rough Guide to… episode transports you straight to the sands of the Sahara and it’s a must-have to any stranger to the region.

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